Teaching English in Vietnam
If you’re considering an ESL teaching job in Vietnam, you’re on a great track! Vietnam is a beautiful country with many breathtaking travel destinations. Its demand for English teachers is rising tremendously, yet the job qualifications and teaching workload are more relaxed than in other Asian countries like China or South Korea. Better yet, teaching English abroad in Vietnam allows you to save money, thanks to its affordable cost of living.
The reason for the increasing demand to learn English in Vietnam is that the rising middle-class families are making English education for their kids a priority. They believe that would unlock doors and give their children an important tool to succeed and earn more. The fact that Vietnam’s economy has opened the door to international investments and the growing tourism also pushed many Vietnamese adults to take extra English classes.
Overall, Vietnam’s one of the best destinations for teaching English abroad. We can help you find a teaching job in Vietnam via Oakary! We’ve also done some research to help prepare you for this. Here are 10 things you should know about teaching English abroad in Vietnam:
What Are the Job Requirements?
- You must be a native English speaker from an English-speaking country.
- The essential qualification for teaching ESL in Vietnam is a degree. A Bachelor’s degree or above from an accredited university/college is required. All majors are accepted.
- A proof of TEFL or TESOL certificate is strictly required by immigration and most reputable companies in Vietnam.
- You must have a clean criminal record.
- Previous ESL teaching experiences will help you stand out in tough competition.
Types of ESL Teaching Jobs in Vietnam
Most ESL jobs in Vietnam are at private language schools, mostly in big cities, for after-school students or adults. They offer a wide variety of classes, from basic to advanced level, with focus on grammars or practical communication skills. You can teach English for Specific Purposes (ESP), such as test preparation courses (i.e IELTS, TOEFL, TOEIC, SAT), or science courses in English. Another popular topic is English for Business for adult professionals.
You can also teach in public schools, where you’re required to work traditional hours and teach larger classes. Private or international schools pay substantially better, yet the qualifications are higher. Working at universities is also possible if you have the required credentials and teaching experiences. Lastly, there’s a huge demand for private tutoring as well if you can find interested prospects.
How Much Do I Get Paid As an ESL Teacher in Vietnam?
Rates vary upon where you work and what you teach. You’ll usually get around $15 to $20 an hour at language schools in the big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and more if you work at private or international schools.
Overall, the average salary in Vietnam would range from $1,000 to $2,000 per month. While that doesn’t sound like too much, for the affordable cost of living in Vietnam, this would allow a pretty comfortable lifestyle here. The salary maybe not as high as in countries like South Korea, but with a significantly lower cost of living in Vietnam, you’ll be able to save just as much.
Cost of Living in Vietnam
Most people can live anywhere in Vietnam with $500 to $1,000 a month, and maybe less in rural areas. This includes everything from rent ($250 to $400 a month), Internet and phone service ($10 to $15 a month), to dining-out meals ($1 to $5 per meal).
How to Get a Job in Vietnam?
There’s no set time when you should apply since language schools in Vietnam hire all year-round. Meanwhile, public schools and universities will need teachers to start at the beginning of the school year, around the end of August to early September. Start your job search at least three months before you plan to go. You may have to do a Skype interview or meet face-to-face before getting hired.
Working Conditions for ESL Teachers in Vietnam
Again, the hours vary depending on the kind of job you take. For example, if you work at a language school, you’ll usually teach 10 to 15 hours a week on evenings and weekends. If you work at a public school, you’ll average 20 to 30 hours a week during normal business hours (Monday to Friday). This, however, does not include the time you spend on planning your lessons outside of the classroom.
Class sizes range from 5 to 40 students. Classrooms are usually equipped with chalkboards or whiteboards, sometimes touch-screen boards. In private institutions, universities, or reputable language centers, you’ll have a Vietnamese teaching assistant to help you in all of your lessons as well.
What The Vietnamese Students Are Like
You may encounter a broad range of ages, though often more kids than adults. The Vietnamese students can be friendly and competitive at the same time. They work very hard even with all the homework and extra classes after school. They tend to be shy and reserved in the class at first. You’ll need to prepare some fun icebreakers or engaging activities to warm them up and talk more in English.
Dress Code For ESL Teachers in Vietnam
It’s not much different than in other parts of the world. You should dress semi-formal for classes. For women, you should wear at least knee-length dresses, skirts or dress pants. Wear a button shirt or blouse with sleeves. Any types of closed shoes are acceptable: high heels or flats.
For men, wear dress pants with a button sleeve shirt or a polo shirt. You may need to wear a suit and tie for university-level classes.
At smaller schools or in rural areas, the dress code may be more casual (with jeans and shirts allowed). Overall, ask your hiring manager, the school coordinator or your colleagues to best understand the dress code before showing up in class.
Some Facts About Vietnam
- The capital: Hanoi (but the largest city is Ho Chi Minh City)
- Language: Vietnamese
- Population: around 96 million (2017)
- Currency: Vietnamese đồng (đ). 1 USD is approximately 23,000 VND.
- Climate: Tropical and temperate. The northern Vietnam has the typical four seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter). It gets pretty cold in Hanoi from December to February. On the other hand, the southern Vietnam just has rainy and dry seasons with high temperature year-round.
- Neighbor (border-sharing) countries: Cambodia, Laos, and China
Lifestyle in Vietnam
You’ll probably be shocked at first by the crazy traffic mixed of cars, scooters, buses, bikes, cycles and an insane amount of pedestrians. But you’ll get used to it!
Different parts of Vietnam have different lifestyle and pace. More than half the expats living in Vietnam reside in Ho Chi Minh City, an exciting crowded metropolitan with many job opportunities. Hanoi has a slower lifestyle, but unique with its cultural and historical sights. Da Nang, on the other hand, is booming fast and offers amazing beaches.
It’s pretty easy to travel in Vietnam since the distances between destinations aren’t too long. Thus, make use of your time in Vietnam and visit some of the most beautiful beaches, mountains, rice terraces, caves, waterfalls, and World Heritage Sites!
While learning Vietnamese is not compulsory, a few Vietnamese phrases will help. For example, learn the numbers and food items so you can negotiate and order food at local restaurants. Here are some basic phrases and words you’d probably need most:
- Hello: Xin Chào!
- How Are You? Bạn Khoẻ Không?
- Thank You: Cảm Ơn
- Sorry: Xin Lỗi
- Yes: Có/Vâng
- No: Không
- How Much? Bao Nhiêu Tiền?
- What is Your Name? Tên Bạn Là Gì?
- My Name is ___: Tên Tôi Là ___
What Do I Need to Get My English Teaching Visa for Vietnam?
To teach English in Vietnam legally, you must apply for a business visa (DN) with a work permit (LD). The visa requirements vary per your home country. Thus, you should consult with your recruiter or employing school, or check with the local consulate for the detailed requirements.
Generally, you’ll need the following documents to obtain a work visa in Vietnam:
- Proof of your college/university degree
- – TEFL/TESOL certificate
- – Federal FBI background check
- – 3 passport photos
Your employer will help provide these following required paperwork:
- – Local health check
- – Local police check (filled out by the Ministry of Police in Vietnam)
- – Permit stay (filled out by the landlord)
Please note that the Vietnamese immigration office will ask for your original or notarized copies of all documents listed above. The name on your documents must exactly match your name on your passport.
Another option is to arrive in Vietnam on a tourist visa with all your original documents and look for a teaching job. Once you’ve secured one, apply for a business visa as well as work permit in Vietnam. However, this will require a visa run, meaning you have to leave and re-enter the country to activate the new visa.
Are you looking for opportunities to teach English abroad in Vietnam? Check out our Teach English Abroad Facebook group for daily job listings.